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As Jolkona focuses on growing our community of philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, we are thrilled welcome a new member to our leadership team: Aparna Rae, our first Development Manager.

What is your role here at Jolkona?

I’m joining the team as Development Manager. Basically, my job is to bring in funds to support Jolkona operations, through grants, major donor cultivation and events.

What was your previous work experience?

I went to college with the dream of working for National Geographic — majoring in forensic anthropology and graphic design — but somewhere between my second and third year, took a turn and headed into education. Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in K-12, after-school and community-based programs, and even taught seminars at a university.

Despite the many changes to my original “plan,” my motivation today is the same as when I started college: helping the world’s bottom billion (or two). In my previous roles locally, I focused deeply on structural issues that keep immigrant and refugee youth from succeeding in school, and designing programs to address them.

Which other nonprofits have you previously worked with, in the Seattle area or elsewhere?

Locally, I’ve worked with Neighborhood House, The Power of Hope, FEEST as a consultant, and currently PYE Global’s Young Women Empowered as a consultant.

In addition, I helped launch Project Feast and its pilot programs for immigrant and refugee cooks in May and June 2013. I currently sit on the board of The Service Board, as the Vice President/Chair.

How did you first find out about Jolkona ?

I heard about Jolkona from Siddhartha Saha, who was shooting some photos for a project a few years ago. Followed from the periphery, and then helped with elements of Corks & Forks (Jolkona’s fundraising dinner) last year.

What do you find most interesting and/or challenging about Jolkona?

What’s both interesting and challenging about Jolkona is that we need to capture funds to meet goals on our Give partner programs (through Give Direct, Give Together, Lift Bangla), as well as for our own operations. This model creates a kind of Catch-22, since Jolkona doesn’t oversee the Give projects, so those donations don’t pay for our own staff, office or website. So, I do think that a lot of my work early on will be in helping define program areas and increase fundability.

My areas of expertise are primarily in program design and evaluation, which translates really well to the needs of fund development at Jolkona. And at the same time, I want to get people excited about the promise of Jolkona and our innovative next-gen philanthropy lab model, so that they want to join us by making meaningful contributions to operations.

What are you most excited to do as part of the Jolkona team?

I love meeting new people, and in my role I’ll get to do just that.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I lived in four different countries before moving to the U.S. at 14: India (Jaipur, Delhi, Gurgaon); Kathmandu, Nepal; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai, UAE.

If you would like to hear more about her in person, Aparna will part of the Crowdfunding & Beyond panel discussion for nonprofits at tomorrow’s NDOA conference in Bellevue, WA.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

The three of us who make up the writing and editing team, and many if not all of us at Jolkona, were brought into the world safely without any major set backs.

However, this is not the case for many women and children across the globe. One of our partners is hosting a project which assists those who face problems within the labor process in Palestine, and in honor of them and our 10 Days of Giving, the writing and editing team would like to highlight and support their cause.

The Scoop

Because of recent conflict that still continues today, the Israeli military has placed heavy restrictions on free movement. Due to several road closures in the West Bank, women in labor have been having difficulty traveling to hospitals safely. The United Nations estimates that around 2500 women face fatal or life-threatening complications while en route to receive assistance with labor. Consequently, the number of women who give birth without any proper medical attention has increased at the same time.

What We’re Doing About It

The writing and editing team here at Jolkona has created a campaign to help mothers and their children, while reducing these numbers. Lucky enough to have experienced safe births, the team is ready to help other mothers undergo healthy, successful deliveries while ensuring their children’s safety in the process.

The goal for the campaign is to raise $300 and provide six mothers and their children with these safe birth kits in an effort to support them in this difficult time.

Check out the video explaining what the campaign is all about:

How You Can Help

Support Safe Births in Palestine: Our partner, MADRE, has created a project to assist these women and children. Donations to the campaign start at $5, however, with your gift of just $50 you can provide a complete safe birth kit to a mother and child. As proof of who your donation has been helping, you will receive the mother and child’s name, as well.

MADRE, a partner of ours since 2009, is an international women’s human rights organization that works with community-based women’s organizations worldwide. Since the organization began in 1983, it has provided women in various countries around the globe with more than $25 million.

Support the Cause

Women and children in Palestine are in great need of our help with facilitating easier labor and deliveries. We invite you to join MADRE and us at Jolkona, with special help from the blogging and editing team, in supporting women and children in Palestine through our new campaign. Just in time for our 10 Days of Giving, a donation to the campaign is a great way to give back to the global community this holiday season.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Blackbuad, a software supplier that frequently works with nonprofits, recently conducted a Donor Perspective survey in an attempt to find out more about how donors are giving to various nonprofits and philanthropic causes.

The study found a few major issues donors are having with the giving process–and we’re working to solve them.

The Scoop

In the study, a total of about 4,000 individuals from the US, the UK and Australia answered questions related to their giving habits.

According to the results, the second most reported reason donors stopped giving, right behind a change in their personal finances, was that they didn’t fully know or understand exactly where their money was going.

One of the other more staggering results of the survey was the reported difference in giving between those above the age of 35 and those below it. The study found that people between the ages of 18 and 24 gave about $463 in the last 12 months, while people ages 25-35 gave $800 on average. The 35-44 age group gave at an average of about $1,390 in the past year.

What We’re Doing to Help

According to Blackbaud, “[by] tracking the impact of contributions and communication that impact back to donors, nonprofits can increase the number of regular donors and ensure they are not losing the regular donors they have.”

Here at Jolkona, we hope to do just that for donors by providing them with proof of what their donation has done, while attempting to appeal to people under the age of 30 by making mobile donations easy at the same time.

By following up with donors after they give to any of our projects, we are proud to provide a name, photograph or more about the person or people their gift has impacted. In doing so, we aim to provide donors with not only complete transparency, but with the confidence that their gift has truly made a great impact, as well.

Moreover, we hope that our mobile site and project pages will work to make giving easier for a younger generation who is always on the go–with a cell phone in tote. By making mobile donation easy to complete, we hope to appeal to all donors and their specific giving needs.

We Owe it to You

Our strides to make giving easier would mean nothing if we didn’t have our wonderful donors’ support. We would like to say a big thank you to all of those who have helped us and our projects out, and will continue to work to make your giving process even easier.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

It is estimated that a staggering 33.3 million people are living with HIV globally, and having killed over 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, HIV/AIDS has become one of the world’s most life threatening diseases, according to WorldAIDSDay.org.

The pandemic has been globally recognized once a year since the first world AIDS day was held in 1988, marking the creation of the first global health day. This Saturday, December 1, marks the 24th World AIDS Day, and a time when we should all reflect upon the millions of lives that the disease threatens and take action to fight the pandemic.

Phot credit due to worldaidscampaign.org

What You Can Do

Provide Medicine to HIV infected Kenyans with our partner Slum Doctor Programme (SDP). In Kenya, the government provides those infected with HIV/AIDS certain medicines to help fight the disease, but not with all the treatments that are needed. With a gift of $30 you can provide an infected individual in Kenya with two weeks of HIV treatment, or 1 month for $60. With your gift, SDP’s Tumaini Clinic program will help give free antiretroviral therapy that the government does not provide to Kenyans living with HIV.

Based out of Bellingham, WA, SDP also works locally to educate kids in middle school and high school with education about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Give Care to HIV Infected Cambodian Children: Cambodia is home to the highest number of HIV/AIDS in Asia.  Our partner New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC) works with orphaned children who are infected with HIV and often are not adopted because of their infection. By giving just $75 to NHCC you can support the medical needs of one HIV infected child for 6 months.

Promote Health Awareness in Kenya through Soccer: Our nonprofit partner Village Volunteers hosts a Kick it With Kenya program in which you can sponsor one child’s opportunity to gain health knowledge while having fun. While attending the soccer program, the child you sponsor will receive a health and HIV screening along with medical care, room and board, and a chance to take part in the fun, community-oriented soccer event.

You can also give a donation to the National AIDS Trust, or start a fundraiser of your own on their website, or begin a campaign on ours. The projects above, along with World AIDS day and everyone working to fight the disease worldwide will also work to accomplish one of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, which is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Take Action

Whatever you do, we invite you to take action with us here at Jolkona and our sponsors around the globe who are working to fight the disease both today and throughout the year. Don’t forget to wear red in support of World AIDS Day and the fight against the pandemic on December 1 and give back to one of our campaigns to show your support!

To get more information on AIDS/HIV and learn the facts about the disease and World AIDS day, visit Worldaidsday.org and take the “Are you HIV aware” online quiz.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is easy to get excited about the great food and good times ahead, but it is also one of the most important times of the year to give. As a youth during the holiday season, my parents, along with people at my church and school, took the time to donate canned goods and money to various food drives.

Jolkona works with a multitude of projects year-round to eradicate hunger world wide, but for this special time of need we have created a compilation of some of these projects–and our very own holiday food drive.

Feeding into the Holidays: Give thanks and give back.

You Can Help

Provide Healthy Meals to Ugandan Children– Due to an increase in commodity costs, the price of a meal in Uganda has risen drastically. Through our partner, the Children of Uganda, your donation of just $55 will be used to feed a child for an entire week. You will help give children regular meals of rice, beans, and posho, a kind of porridge made with maize which is supplemented with vegetables, fruit, eggs and beef when available.

Give Fresh Produce to Children in School in Ecuador 40 percent of the Ecuadorian population consists of children ages 17 and under–and 70 percent of those kids and adolescents live in poverty according to UNICEF. Help our partner, Ecuador Children’s Hope Organization, ensure that kids in school receive the nutrients they need by giving them fresh produce. Your small gift of $65 will provide 300 children with fruits and vegetables for a week. By giving up a little, you will help hundreds gain so much.

Feed a Hungry Family in NicaraguaMADRE, an international women’s human rights organization that has partnered with Jolkona since 2009, has put together a project to give women in Nicaragua a gift that keeps on giving: gardening knowledge and tools. For just $50 you can give one woman the chance to grow food for her family by providing organic seeds. With their own gardens, women in Nicaragua can provide continuously for their families. Give today and help for months to come.

Build an Energy Efficient Stove for a Nepali Family More than 82 perfect of all Nepali households rely on firewood as a source of power; however, in the high altitudes of the country, trees grow slowly, and individuals must travel further and further each day as trees that can’t grow back quick enough are chopped away. With only $40 you can help families spend more time productively, and less time searching for firewood by helping build a full stove. Your gift will contribute good meals and some ease of comfort through our partner, Himalayan Healthcare. Instead of giving food for a week, help a family create nutritious meals for years to come.

Share What You Have

Most of us enjoy great food and treats throughout the holiday season, whether it is just one day of turkey, or a daily seasonal latte to help shake off the cool weather. However you enjoy this time, it is important to remember to help others find joy in these special days, and all throughout their lives.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

On December 14, 1954 the United Nations’ General Assembly suggested each country adopt a Universal Children’s Day, and today, November 20, is the day that is now recognized as such.

The day also marks the date the UN’s Assembly enacted the Declaration of the Rights of a Child and the Convention on the rights of the Child, the former in 1959 and the latter in 1989.

In recognition of this day, on which great accomplishments have been made for the world’s youth, we would like to highlight some of our projects that work to give back to kids everywhere, everyday.

Support the Cause

Help Families Fleeing from Famine in Somalia-Somalia is in a declared state of famine, due to the drought in the African Horn, which is the worst the nation has seen in 60 years. Those fighting famine are more prone to dehydration and the contraction of diseases; children are especially susceptible. With your donation of $50, our partner MADRE will provide 5 health kits to a family. Through your gift you will not only be supporting kids on this year’s Universal Children’s Day, but the families that help provide for them.

Support an Orphan in Kenya: More than one million children have been orphaned in Kenya due to high mortality rates from HIV/AIDS, leaving them without many basic necessities. Your $30 donation will provide one child with an outfit, and you will receive a photo of them wearing the clothes you gave. Any gift you decide to give will be provided to our partner, Global Roots, and to the Baraka Orphanage, which has successfully worked to find homes for over 1,800 orphans in the area.

Provide Maternal and Child Healthcare in Guatemala: With a high infant mortality rate, women in Guatemala are in need of assistance in the execution of healthy deliveries and infant care—the country’s infancy mortality rate is 33 per 1,000 live births, and is even higher in rural areas. With your gift of $166 you can provide a mother and child with one week and pre- and post-delivery care. Our partners program, Project Concern International’s (PCI) Casa Materna (Mother’s House), focuses on preventing disease, improving community health, and promoting sustainable development. Help us and PCI support children and mothers in Guatemala through this great opportunity.

Give an Overnight Experience to Underserved Youth in USA: Inspire our country’ youth to learn: by providing $30 to the Ron McNair Camp-In, you will give one child a partial scholarship to attend an overnight event at the Pacific Science Center, our partner who works together with Blacks in Science to host the event. The child you sponsor will receive the partial scholarship along with three meals during the event, and your donation will help cover the costs of the workshops, educators and supplies for the children.

A Global Gift

In support of both the UN’s Universal Children’s Day and its eight Millennium Development goals, we hope that you will help us celebrate this year’s Children’s Day by giving back to the youth of the world it celebrates. According to UNICEF, children directly benefit from at least 6 of the 8 of the UN’s Millennium Development goals, and are indirectly helped by the remaining two. Take a second to look at any of our projects, which address at least one of the goals in some way, and give back to our kids however you would like.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Today, we are excited to welcome our first US partners.

It has been 2 months since we opened up Jolkona Foundation to the public. We are excited to see how well it has been received since then. However, for us to be truly successful in the long term, we need to continue to find ways to enrich the giving experience for our users. For example, what our users want to see is a diverse set of donation options. Today marks a significant milestone for Jolkona Foundation as we welcome our first US partners and launch 3 US projects.

Technology Access Foundation (TAF) brings an innovative approach to help educate children of color in some of the underserved communities in Seattle. Through their projects, you will be able to provide everything from supplying snacks for the afterschool program to sponsoring their field trips.

Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH) supports individuals with limited financial resources by providing them business training, supportive community and capital. You can support CASH’s activities by sponsoring various business trainings.

They say “Charity begins at home.” Both of these partners are committed to assisting the marginalized communities in our neighborhood. We couldn’t have picked out any better partners to bring Jolkona Foundation to America.

Jolkona Foundation’s goal is to build a platform that not only empowers the donors, but is also available to any nonprofit organization willing and able to show a tangible proof for every donation. The success of a platform is hinged on its popularity with its constituencies. Our platform now supports more than 40 projects in over 25 countries – from USA in the west to the Philippines in the east.

Thank you again for all your support so far. I hope you take this opportunity to support the projects with TAF and CASH or any of our other projects.

As always, your comments are highly welcome and appreciated!

In June, we launched an awareness drive to increase the membership in our social networks. We had promised to plant a tree for every supporter in Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. At end of the drive, we gained enough supporters to plant 750 trees. Our supporters decided to plant the trees in India, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

At Jolkona Foundation, we are committed to showing impact for EVERY donation. We try to take that approach with all of our activities. So, we are excited to share videos from our partners – Trees for the Future – showing planting of moringa trees in India. Most of the videos show the planting of the trees while the last video shows moringa trees planted last year.

These videos serve as clear proof of the impact that our supporters had by simply following us on Twitter or becoming a Facebook fan or joining our LinkedIn group. Thank you for the support and we hope you will continue to have even more impact in other projects.

Quick update from our online poll for planting the 700 trees from our awareness drive. The top 3 choices are India, Haiti, and Ethiopia. We will plant equal number of trees in the 3 locations. Thank you again for all your support!

Jolkona’s Official launch Campaign in the world of social networking has come to an end. We had announced we would plant 1 tree for every fan on Facebook, follower on Twitter, and member of our LinkedIn group. We are happy to announce that we will be planting 700 trees on behalf of all of your support!

We decided to close the drive over the weekend and at that point we had:

  • Facebook: 286 fans
  • Twitter: 339 followers
  • LinkedIn: 39 members

Total: 664 members

We are letting our supporters decide where to plant these 700 trees. Please show your choice by filling out this quick poll:

We will close the poll at the end of Wednesday (tomorrow). We will plant the trees in the top three locations.

And just because the campaign is done, it doesn’t mean we are done spreading the word. Here are the 3 ways to reach out to our online community:

  1. Become a fan of Jolkona Foundation on Facebook
  2. Join our LinkedIn group
  3. Follow us on Twitter

Please continue to suggest us to your friends and family…and better yet…try out the site and give today!

Big results from small solutions?

It seems counter-intuitive, but take a look around and notice that some of the world’s most widespread solutions stem from the simplest of ideas. Believe me, I know this-I’m a Bangladeshi. My country, a developing nation with a per capita income of $1400 (as compared to global average of $10,200), has spearheaded the invention of the globally recognized Microcredit and the Sono Arsenic filter. I’m certain the inventors, Dr. Muhammad Yunus and  Dr. Abdul Hussam respectively, along with the world, triumph over the simplicity of these solutions. They really are that simple.

For those unaware, microcredit is the granting of very small loans to poverty stricken communities/people that show potential in repaying it through entrepreneurship. There’s no need to explain the economic implications of such financial innovation because the results speak for themselves. From worldwide women’s empowerment to the sprouting of new industries, microcredit has proven to drastically improve the quality of life for millions of the impoverished. Similarly, the Sono Arsenic filter, with it’s simple design and $40 cost, can filter water of fatal impurities for 2 families. What was once a critical arsenic poisoning crisis in Bangladesh, is no longer. This is incredible! 

Dr. Yunus
Dr. Yunus

 

As my first post, I want to emphasize the importance of small actions inspiring huge results. Sort of like a Jolkona (water droplet) creating ripples in a pool of water. You can be the small drop that brings ripples of change in your community, in your world. Take a look at the projects the Jolkona Foundation has listed on this site, and you might just find your opportunity.

I’m excited beyond belief for my upcoming trip to Bangladesh! I hope to witness more examples of what I call, the Jolkona Effect. What are some other examples that you know of today? How are they simple? How are they widely effective?

But more importantly, what are your ideas and visions of small solutions providing widespread change?  Who knows…maybe we’ll speak of you one day!

A quick update about our awareness drive. In the week since we launched our awareness drive we have little more than 300 people fan us on Facebook, or join our LinkedIn group or follow us on Twitter. Our original goal was to reach 3,000 people through these three social websites. We are 10% of the way there.

If you have already supported our drive, then, thank you and please continue to spread the word to your friends, colleagues, and family members. If you have not yet joined our drive, you can do that with three easy clicks:

  1. Become a fan of Jolkona Foundation on Facebook
  2. Join our LinkedIn group
  3. Follow us on Twitter
Jolkona Foundation will plant a tree for every Facebook fan, LinkedIn group member, and Twitter follower. So, with 3 quick clicks you can not only show your support, but, also plant 3 trees. Happy clicking!

We are celebrating our official launch milestone by kicking off an awareness drive.  Through this awareness drive, we are looking to increase our visibiity through the number of Facebook fans, number of Twitter followers, and number of members in our LinkedIn group. You can be a part of this drive by taking the following 3 simple actions:
To encourage this drive we promise to plant one tree for every new supporter in our groups over the next 10 days. We are looking to plant up to 3,000 trees through this drive.
We hope you will take a few short seconds to help us reach our goal of planting 3,000 trees and increasing our visibility in the next 10 days.  All you need to do is show your support and spread the word to your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

Finally, after 6 months of Beta testing and incorporating 100s of feedback we are excited to remove the Beta tag from Jolkona Foundation’s website. Please check out our newly updated website available at www.jolkona.org. As our closest friends and supporters, you are invited to try out the new site today.

We will start a concerted outreach program next week. But, we wanted to give you the ability to try out the new site before anyone else.

Here are some highlights from this release:

  1. New branding and logo. One of the major feedbacks we received was that our logo does not clearly communicate our mission. We spent significant amount of time revamping our logo and the tagline. One of our co-founders, Adnan Mahmud, explains the new logo in more detail in an earlier post.
  2. Anyone can create an account. We have removed the invitation code and now anyone can sign up for a Jolkona website account and give.
  3. Deep integration with Facebook. We understand that you might not want to create another web account. If you are a Facebook user, you can sign into Jolkona website using your Facebook account.
  4. Invite your contacts easily. You can easily import your contacts from your web email accounts (e.g. MSN, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) and invite them to also join the Jolkona Family.
  5. Share your Jolkona Experience with others. You can now find us on various social websites. We encourage you to become a Facebook fan, follow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group.

We still have a long way to go, but we are now officially open for business.

After several months of testing our website with a small group of users on an invitation-only basis, Jolkona Foundation is excited to emerge from the Beta phase. Today marks the first step with the unveiling of our new logo and the launch of our Twitter account – @Jolkona.

Over the past few months we have spent a significant amount of time learning from our Beta users. One of the major feedbacks we received was that our original logo and the tagline – Every drop counts – gives the impression that we are a water-related non-profit organization. Along the same lines, few folks encouraged us to look for an alternative logo or tagline or both that would clearly and concisely connect with our work. We believe our new logo addresses these concerns.  Here are some of the reasonings behind the new logo:

  1. We did not want to change the original name of the organization. Jolkona is a unique name and it literally represents the impact we would like to have.
  2. The new tagline “Your choice. Your impact. Your world.” represents our model of allowing the donor to choose the projects she/he wants to help, to give small donations to the project, and then, to see their impact they have on the world.
  3. The logo icon has 5 colors representing the 5 categories of projects we support- Public Health, Education, Environment, Cultural Identity, and Empowerment.
  4. The icon also represents community. Jolkona Foundation is committed to 3 constituents – donors, partner organizations, and aid recipients. We help donors feel confident about how their gifts gets spent, we help our partners improve their efficiency and most importantly, we help get to those who need it (this is the critical piece) in the way they need it. While our site has a donor focus right now, our vision is to make sure we can eventually meet the needs of all 3 stakeholders.
Here is the new Jolkona logo:

New Jolkona logo

More than anything this new logo is a result of Jolkona Foundation’s evolution through the Beta process and the good fortune of having passionate users who constantly give us great feedback. The website is still featuring the old logo, but, expect that to change within next few days.
 
I am personally very excited about our Twitter presence. It opens up a great avenue for Jolkona Foundation to reach out to our target users and connect with them through a familiar media. Social media is a very useful tool for any small start-up, especially non-profits. We plan to use @Jolkona to not only give short updates on Jolkona Foundation, but also to share some industry and worldwide news/trends/events that are catching our attention. As always, we would love to hear how you think we should be using @Jolkona.
I must thank our beta users for the great support they have extended to us thus far. We could not have gotten here without your help! That’s all for today’s announcements. Let us know your thoughts on these updates!
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